A Medieval Omnibus: Sources in Medieval European History
Deftly written and beautifully illustrated, The Worlds of Medieval Europe, Third Edition, presents a distinctive and nuanced portrayal of the Greater West during its medieval millennium. By integrating the histories of the Islamic and Byzantine worlds into the main narrative, author Clifford R. Backman offers an insightful, detailed, and often witty look at the continuum of interaction-social, cultural, intellectual, and commercial-that existed among all three societies. This compelling volume surpasses traditional textbook representations of the Middle Ages by balancing the conventional focus on political affairs, especially those of northern Europe, with equally detailed attention to medieval society as it developed in the Mediterranean. In addition, Backman describes the ways in which the medieval Latin West attempted to understand the unified and rational structure of the human cosmos, which they believed existed beneath the observable diversity and disorder of the world. This effort to recreate a human ordering of "unity through diversity" provides an essential key to understanding medieval Europe and the ways in which it regarded and reacted to the worlds around it.